Southampton City Council (SCC) has announced the launch of it’s Green City Charter on National Clean Air Day, this Thursday. It includes targets for the city to become carbon neutral by 2030.
A launch event is being held at Southampton Guildhall on Thursday 20th June, National Clean Air Day, for the SCC’s new Green City Charter. The event is invite-only for key representatives from local campaign groups and organisations, at 12-2PM. The public can attend a day of activities which ‘showcase what is being done across the city’ at Guildhall Square from 10AM-3PM, and can sign the Charter and contribute ideas via an online pledge form.
The SCC have described the Green City Charter as a commitment to make Southampton better for present and future generations and for the city to lead by example with ‘challenging goals’:
Our vision is to create a cleaner, greener, healthier and more sustainable city. Southampton will be a better place for present and future generations that is prepared for the challenges presented by climate change. We will achieve this by ensuring we are ambitious, lead by example and set ourselves challenging goals.
The Charter outlines 9 goals relating to environment, health, energy and transport. It highlights the aim for the city to be carbon neutral by 2030 as well as reducing emissions to satisfy WHO air quality guideline values by 2025, specifically regarding elevated nitrogen dioxide levels.
Councillor Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton City Council, said:
Southampton City Council is proud to be introducing some of the most ambitious measures to improve air quality and avert a climate crisis ever adopted by a UK council through the Green City Charter.
Now is the time for action to be taken as a collective rather than in isolation. Through the Charter, I’m calling on everybody to get involved in efforts to clean up the city and make it a greener and healthier place to live.
It’s encouraging that many of the city’s biggest players are getting behind the vision for the Green City Charter including Southampton Football Club, Bluestar, University of Southampton, and the port companies, ABP and DP World. Together, we can show future generations of children in the city that we helped to create a better future through the Green City Charter.
The Charter, initially announced in January, has been in the works for several months and has sparked controversy both with the public and with the council members.
During the second Southampton school climate strike on 15th March at Highfield Campus, Labour councillor and ‘Cabinet Member for Green City’, Steve Leggett, took questions and received considerable criticism from members of the public regarding how extensive the Charter aims to be, specifically regarding the large scale of emissions from Southampton Port.
The councillor also told the crowd that the Charter was produced as a result of ‘cross-party working groups’, although the Daily Echo reported that at the council cabinet meeting later that week Mr Leggett’s comments sparked outrage amongst Conservative opposition who denied such working groups took place. As a result, the Charter was called back in to be further debated in a move by Conservative councillor and chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSMC) Peter Baillie, who told the Daily Echo that it was a ‘Labour charter’. Consequently, the original launch event on 21st March was cancelled.
A ‘Funeral For Our Future’ has been held by climate activists in Southampton in response to a delay to a ‘Green City Charter’ – the City Council says it’s because the Scrutiny Committee decided the Charter requires “further discussion” before it’s implemented #HeartNews pic.twitter.com/Rc2uM78m2B
— Heart South News (@HeartSouthNews) March 22, 2019
Climate activists responded to the delay with a ‘Funeral for our future’ event on 22nd March.